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What Is Drug Dependence And Addiction

Is The Difference Important

Drugs & Addiction : What Is Drug Dependency?

Identifying the proper term can help someone seek the proper treatment. For dependence, a lot of the focus is on treating withdrawal symptoms and overcoming the cravings for a substance. For addiction, treatment is both physical and mental. Addicts deal with a frequent struggle to stay away from a substance, even after they experience detox and withdrawal. Addiction is also characterized by relapses.

What Are The Different Types Of Addiction

Addiction is most commonly associated with substance use disorders , which is the compulsive and problematic use of substances like drugs and alcohol. These fall under the larger class of substance-related disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed .3,13

The DSM-5 separates substance-related addictions into 10 classes of drugs and provides diagnostic criteria, which medical professionals use to determine appropriate care plans. The following SUDs are defined in the DSM-5: 3,13

  • Caffeine
  • Tobacco
  • Other considerations

When it comes to non-substance related addictions, there continues to be discussion in the scientific community about whether or not other behaviors should be formally classified as addictions or impulse control disorders.2

Currently, the DSM-5 only classifies pathological gambling as a non-substance related disorder, or behavioral addiction, however there are other repetitive and compulsive behaviors, such as sex, exercising, and shopping that are outlined in a chapter of the DSM-5 titled Conditions for Further Study.3

The Most Common Addictions

Millions of people around the world struggle with SUDs. Some of the most common drugs that impede peoples lives include:

  • Nicotine
  • About

Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelors and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffreys desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffreys mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.

Clinically Reviewed:

David Hampton

  • About

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

David embarked on his journey into sobriety in June of 2005, which led him to his current career path as a Certified Professional Addiction Recovery Coach in private practice in Greater Nashville. David is also a public speaker and the author of two books. David is cohost of the weekly Positive Sobriety Podcast, as well as being a frequent contributor to various articles and recovery based materials. As a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors , David works closely with Nashville area treatment centers, nonprofit recovery organizations, and consulting with faith-based groups trying to bridge the gap between the recovery communities and faith-based organizations who wish to understand addiction.

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So What Is The Difference

Drug abuse refers to an individual who continues to use drugs even though they know it is having an adverse affect on their health and well being. Drug abusers will continue to use even though their social life is falling apart and their financial stability is collapsing.

Drug dependence occurs when an individual has built up a tolerance to a particular drug or drugs. With tolerance comes the need to take more and more of the drug in order to achieve a high. Those with a drug dependence problem are also likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug in question. To help better identify drug abuse and dependence, it is important to understand the medical criteria for each.

What Are The Causes Of Addiction

Overcome Drug Addiction

There is no single cause of an addiction. Addictions involve complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and a persons life experiences.1 Researchers have identified a number of potential risk factors that may contribute to a person developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol. These factors may stem from various areas, including a persons biology, environment, and development.7 These risk factors include:7

  • Gender.
  • Presence of a co-occurring mental health disorder.
  • Friend groups.
  • Family life.
  • Traumatic experiences.

There isnt one specific risk factor that can predict whether or not someone gets addicted to a substance.7 Addiction is often associated with a combination of these factors. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs could lead to addiction.7

Some common motivations for use and/or misuse of substances can include:5

  • Trying to feel betterusing substances to improve mood or soothe pain.
  • To perform betterusing some substances may make people feel like they can focus better at work or in school.

Curiositysome people may want to experiment or feel pressured by others.

Also Check: Why Is Cigarettes So Addictive

Recognizing The Symptoms Of Drug Dependence

You can often determine if an addiction has turned into dependence by looking at behavior. When a person addicted to drugs hasnt had them for a period of time, this can cause a physical reaction. Physical symptoms of withdrawal occur when the body becomes stressed without the drug. These symptoms include:

  • anxiety

Drug Dependence Vs Drug Addiction

  • Blog>Alcoholism & Drug Addiction>Drug Addiction
  • Drug Dependence vs. Drug Addiction
  • There are many terms thrown around in relation to drug abuse, and it can be difficult to discern what they mean. Drug addiction is an already misunderstood disease, and the confusion regarding terminology only adds to the problem. While drug dependence and drug addiction are often related, they do not mean the same thing.

    Recommended Reading: Why Do People Become Addicted

    Mental Dependence Vs Physical Dependence

    Mental dependence is when use of a substance is a conditioned response to an event or feeling. These are known as triggers. Something as simple as the act of driving can trigger a desire to use. These triggers set off biochemical changes in a persons brain that strongly influence addictive behavior.

    Triggers can be emotional responses to events, certain people, places or anything a person associates with using a substance.

    Symptoms of triggers may include:

    • Tightness of the stomach
    • Feeling intense desire or need to use drugs or alcohol
    • Nervousness or anxiety

    When the symptoms of mental and physical dependence are apparent, an addiction is usually present. However, the main characteristic that distinguishes addiction from dependence is the combination of mental and physical dependence with uncontrollable behavior in obtaining and using a substance.

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    So why do some organizations scrap the word addiction from their vocabulary? The minds behind the DSM find the term carries too much negative connotation and is ambiguous. The World Health Organization also wanted to replace the medical designation of addiction with the word dependence back in 1964 .

    Treatment At Mission Harbor

    Drugs & Addiction : What Is the Difference Between Drug Dependency & Addiction?

    At Mission Harbor, we treat young people and adults suffering from addiction in our outpatient center. Our staff is trained to treat a variety of different disorders, including addiction to alcohol, heroin, cocaine, opioids, and more. We also offer relapse prevention for addicts who have recovered and fallen back into their addictive habits.

    Our programs are designed to help people get the treatment they need while maintaining their work or school routines. We offer convenient program schedules, as well as morning, afternoon, and evening programs. Every client is given a personalized treatment plan that includes specialized program tracks, and the option for both individual and group therapy.;

    If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, contact us today to learn more about Mission Harbor Santa Barbara and Southern California locations.;

    Also Check: Why Do You Get Addicted To Nicotine

    How To Tell The Difference Between Drug Abuse And Drug Addiction

    According to the DSM, there are a handful of diagnostic criteria, which, if present in the preceding 12-month period, indicate a problematic pattern of drug use.;

    Take a look at these symptoms and see if you or a loved one has one or more of them:

    • Using a substance in larger amounts or for longer than intended.
    • Having a persistent desire or unsuccessful attempts to cut down or quit drug use.
    • Spending a great deal of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of the drug.
    • Experiencing cravings or strong urges to use the drug.
    • Using the drug repeatedly, leading to a failure to fulfill responsibilities at home and in the workplace.
    • Continuing to use the drug despite recurrent or persistent problems in relationships and social life.
    • Giving up or cutting back on recreational, social, and professional activities because of drug use.
    • Repeatedly using the drug in physically hazardous situations.
    • Continuing use of the drug despite recurrent physical and psychological problems caused or exacerbated by the drug.
    • Experiencing tolerance to the drug, which is a diminished effect with the same amount of the drug over time or the need for an increased amount of the drug to achieve the desired level of intoxication.
    • Experiencing characteristic withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug or needing to use the drug to relieve or avoid symptoms.

    But how can you know if you need professional help?

    How Do Drugs Work In The Brain To Produce Pleasure

    Nearly all addictive drugs directly or indirectly target the brains reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. When activated at normal levels, this system rewards our natural behaviors. Overstimulating the system with drugs, however, produces effects which strongly reinforce the behavior of drug use, teaching the person to repeat it.

    Recommended Reading: Why Am I An Addict

    Substance Addiction Vs Dependence: An Overview

    When people talk about addiction, they are usually referring to the harmful effects that drugs and alcohol have on a persons behavior. When they talk about dependence, they are typically inferring that the person is reliant on drugs and alcohol, despite the negative consequences. However, are those the true definitions? And dont they overlap?

    The differences between substance addiction and substance dependence are slight, as many of their signs and symptoms intersect.

    Addiction is characterized by an inability to stop using a substance, despite the harmful consequences. A person who is addicted typically struggles to meet work, social, and/or family obligations. Generally, this person will also have built a tolerance to their drug of choice, and experience painful withdrawal symptoms upon stopping use of it. Addiction is caused by chronic substance use.

    Dependence is typically a physical reliance on a drug, also characterized by symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal. An individual who is dependent on a drug may have a high tolerance, and needs to ingest higher dosages to feel the drugs effects. If this person stops use abruptly, they will also experience acute withdrawal symptoms, as their body craves more of the drug. Like addiction, dependence happens with chronic drug use.

    According to the latest version of the DSM, substance use disorders can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the number of symptoms. Symptoms include:

    What Is Drug Addiction

    From Drug Use to Drug Abuse: The Stages of Addiction

    Someone who is only dependent on drugs without actually being addicted will likely not experience a loss of control, strong cravings for their drug of choice, participate in compulsive drug use, or fail to meet obligations.; An addict, however, will likely experience all of these things.; People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are characterized as people who consistently use those substances, and use them to excess.; They may find themselves in dangerous situations, may knowingly jeopardize their health, and may neglect important commitments at school, home, or work.; Addicted individuals likely participate in behavior that is destructive to jobs, homes, finances, friendships, and family relationships.; Psychology Today defines addiction as an activity initially enjoyed by a person, but with repeated use and higher amounts needed to achieve a similar high that can become self-destructive or even life threatening for the abuser.; ;A person who is addicted is no longer taking a drug to feel its effects, but rather to escape withdrawal and feel normal.; Whereas dependence is mostly a physical reliance on a substance, addiction is more all encompassing, and includes not only a physical reliance, but a mental and emotional one as well.

    Read Also: Can You Get Addicted To Vyvanse

    Can Drug Abuse Lead To Drug Dependence

    Roughly 22.7 million Americans require help to treat a drug or alcohol problem, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In fact, drug abuse sometimes leads to substance use disorder , a condition that is commonly linked to drug dependence.

    An SUD occurs when a person continuously uses drugs, and his or her drug abuse causes health issues or other problems at home, work, or school. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration points out that there are six types of SUDs

    Several triggers are associated with SUDs, too. These triggers include:

    • Family history of drug addiction
    • History of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions
    • Living in an environment where illegal drugs are easily accessible

    Also, there are four stages of drug dependence:

  • Recreational Drug Use: An individual occasionally uses drugs in social settings.
  • Regular Drug Use: An individuals drug use draws him or her away family and friends, and he or she is concerned about losing access to drugs.
  • Drug Addiction: An individual builds drug tolerance and abandons previous interests and relationships.
  • Drug Dependence: An individual feels that he or she can no longer live without drugs; at this time, an individuals physical and mental health may suffer significant damage.
  • If you or someone you know is dealing with drug dependence, seeking medical help is critical. With a proactive approach to treatment, an individual can get support to overcome his or her drug dependence.

    What Is The Difference Between Addiction And Dependence

    It is possible to become dependent on drugs without forming an addiction. Someone can take drugs heavily for several days in a row. Their brain may adapt to the ongoing presence of the drug in the body. Within a month, they may become dependent on the drug. If they stop using the drug, they may experience some withdrawal symptoms. However, if they stop using the drug altogether, they may not be addicted to its effects.

    Several factors determine whether a person has a dependency or addiction, such as:

    • Length of use
    • Causes of addiction
    • Combination of drugs

    The longer a person uses a drug, the more likely their dependency will turn into an addiction. They become accustomed to starting a routine of using the drug each day. As the pattern becomes ingrained into the users psyche, they may reach the point where they feel as though they cant live without it. Furthermore, they cant quit even if they want to. Their brain is too attached to the drug.

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    Drug Detox And Rehab For Substance Use Disorders

    Treatment for substance use disorder starts by completing a detox supervised by trained medical professionals.; Once the drug is out of your system, the true healing will begin.; After detox, treatment includes a variety of therapies focused on processing the root cause of the addiction and teaching you skills you need to be successful in recovery.; If you have experienced trauma in your life, therapies that specifically target trauma will be included in your treatment plan.;The Source Treatment Center is proud to provide life changing drug addiction treatment and help people live a life better than they ever imagined.; For more information about The Source, please call or visit their website atwww.thesourcetreatmentcenter.com.;

    Extraordinary Awakenings And The Disappearance Of Addiction

    Drug Dependence Vs Drug Addiction

    In medical practice, to get a diagnosis of a substance use disorder, there first needs to be a careful diagnostic interview conducted by a mental health professional. The interviewer assesses whether there is a problematic pattern of substance use or behaviors that are causing a person distress and impairment in their functioning to the point that it’s considered clinically significant.

    In addition, a person needs to meet at least two of these 11 symptoms:

    • Repeated use, resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations
    • Repeated use in hazardous situations
    • Continued use despite social/interpersonal problems
    • Cravings
    • Use for longer periods or in larger amounts than intended
    • Persistent desire or unsuccessful attempts to control the use
    • A great deal of time spent on activities related to the use
    • Reduced important social, occupational, or recreational activities
    • Continued use despite physical or psychological problems

    Can someone be dependent without being addicted?

    Absolutely.

    Physiological dependence is very common and can occur with many different kinds of substances, including those considered to be medications. In fact, it’s very important for medical professionals to get this right and differentiate between physiological dependence and the more complicated addiction construct because the diagnosis will help point to the best treatment option.

    Can someone be addicted without being dependent?

    This is a much tougher debate, but the short answer is yes.

    Recommended Reading: How To Admit You Have An Addiction

    What Is The Meaning Of Addiction

    Addiction refers to a change in behavior caused by a biochemical change in the brain as a result of long-term substance abuse. When a person develops an addiction to drugs or alcohol, abusing these substances becomes their main priority. Despite the harm that long-term substance abuse can cause, these individuals are unable to control their use when theyve hit the point of addiction. Because of the self-destructive patterns of behavior associated with this disease, many addicts suffer from problems related to their health, relationships, and finances. Treatment facilities like Banyan Boca understand addiction as a disease and therefore treat it accordingly. Our addiction levels of care were created with the understanding that an addiction to drugs and alcohol is a disease of the mind and body that is out of the individuals control.

    How Do Drugs Affect The Brain

    Most drugs affect the brains reward system, generating a series of reactions that can lead to larger-than-normal releases of the neurotransmitter dopamine.4 As a result, people may experience a flood of pleasurable feelings . Dopamine normally helps motivate positive behaviors such as eating and spending time with friends and family. When there are surges of dopamine associated with drug use, however, it instead can motivate unhealthy behaviors, which may lead a person to keep using the drug over and over.3

    With repeated use of certain drugs, the brain adapts to the presence of the drug over time. This could lead a person to use more of the drug to achieve the same feelings that it gave before.4 This effect is known as tolerance. For example, 2 drinks may initially be all a person needs to have to feel the pleasant effects of alcohol. But after repeated, regular use, it may take 3 drinks to feel the same way.4 This can lead to a person increasing their use of a substance as tolerance increases.

    Long-term use of drugs or alcohol can cause additional changes in the brain that affects:7

    • Learning.
    • Behavior.

    Read Also: What Is The Most Addictive Illegal Drug

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